Leinenkugel’s Historic Brewery Tour – Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

brewery.jpgLeinenkugel’s Historic Brewery Tour – Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin

Enter the world of the 7th oldest operating brewery in the nation.  It all began when brewer Matthias Leinenkrugel brought his family to the US from Germany in the 1840’s.  Although the family originally settled in Sauk City the third son, Jacob, traveled north to Chippewa Falls.  He was convinced that the lumberjacks and lumber-booming economy of the area was an ideal location for his own brewery.  

The brewing of Leinendugel’s Beer began for Jacob in 1867 and has been continued for 140 years and five-generations.  With all the trials they have survived, such as prohibition, WWII and some really fierce competition it has grown to become the leading craft brewer in the Upper Midwest.

They offer in addition to their year-round offerings—Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat, Honey Weiss, Berry Weiss, Red Lager, Creamy Dark, Original, and Light, they also offer seasonal beers—Oktoberfest, Apple Spice, and Big Butt Doppelbock.

The beer brewed by this brewery is a handcrafted beer of great taste.  If you are looking for a high-quality full-flavored beer then you really want to try one of theirs.

The brewery was built by Jacob and his friend form Sauk City, John Miller.  When it was first begun there were no employees working the brewery except for Jacob and John.  Jacob brewed and kegged 400 barrels of beer the first year and John delivered it using a small cart and one horse.  At the time both families lived in the brewery in a building 24 ft by 50 feet.  Not such a huge area for a brewery and home but it was a start.

A few years later John and Jacob both built their homes on brewery property.  There were 17 years that they two were partners in the brewery but in early 1884 John sold his interests to Jacob and the firm began a period of single proprietorship.  At that time Jacob employed just 8 men.

In 1890 a four-story brewhouse was erected and production increased to 200 barrels a day.  With the construction of an ice house with storage underneath the facility provided cellage for 8,000 barrels of beer.  In following years a three-story malt house, a bottling house, barns for the delivery horses and a copper shop were added.

Jacob died in 1899.  Following his leadership the second generation began running the brewery.  Matt Leinenkugel became the president of the company.

To survive the years of Prohibition  the brewery started making soda water.  At the end of prohibition Leinenkugels’ was the largest bottler of soda water in the area.

With the death of Matthias in 1926 and his associate Henry Casper in 1927 the running of the brewery moved on to Susan Leinendugel Mayer who served as president until 1929.

When Prohibition was ending the brewery demanded upgraded equipment so the family mortgaged their homes to help buy it to revitalize the brewing operation. For the next 71 years the brewery would be in a constant state of upgrading.

brewery logo.jpgTours of the brewery began around 1967.  With the demand of tours and wanting to taste the beers produced by the company becoming more demanding the brewery build the Leinenkugle Hospitality center in 1979.

You are invited to come and tour the facility and sample the brews.  The tours start and end at the Leinie Lodge and if FREE.  To maintain the tradition of old-world hospitality they request that you call in advance for the tour.

Directions: From Chicago/Milwaukee on I-94:

Take I-94 West to Eau Claire, exit 70 (first Eau Claire exit) Highway 53 North
Go North 12 miles to Highway 124 North
Follow Highway 124 into Chippewa Falls
From Twin Cities on I-94:

Take I-94 East to Chippewa Falls, exit 52 – Highway 29 East
Follow Highway 29 East 20 miles into Chippewa Falls
Take exit 72 (Business 29). Travel approximately 4 miles into Chippewa Falls.
Follow Highway 124 North signs
From the East on Highway 29 (Wausau)

Take exit 79 (Seymour Cray Blvd.), turn right onto Businees 29 and follow signs to Downtown and Highway 124 North.
Continue traveling on Highway 124 through Chippewa Falls, turning right onto E. Elm St.
From the North (Superior)

Take exit 99 off of Highway 53 North (County Highway S), turn left at the bottom of the exit.
Travel 2 miles to the roundabout intersection at Highway 124, take Highway 124 South, travel 2 miles turning left on E. Elm St.
Once in Chippewa Falls:

Follow Highway 124 to the Elm St. intersection.
Turn onto E. Elm Street., (you’ll see the Leinie Lodge on your left)
Free parking is located behind the Leinie

Tour Hours:

Monday-Thursday & Sat.:
Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. with tours every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. with tours every half hour from 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. with tours every half hour from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The Leinie Lodge is closed Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Day. Maximum 15 people per tour. Reservations recommended. Parts of the brewery tour are outside; please dress appropriately for the weather. The tour involves a lot of standing, walking and stair-climbing. We offer a video tour as an alternative.

To make a reservation, please call:
888-LEINIES or 715-723-5557

Phone: (888-534-6437) or (715)723-5557


  1. Dick Bergman says:

    Just tried “Big Eddy”. It`s great. Years ago in occupied Germany I enjoyed Bullybach. It was a truley good beer , especially with a pizza at the
    Capri in Wiesbaden.

    Maybe you should try to duplicate it. That would make my day. We were the Cold War Warriors your parents never heard of.

    Det 4/D 136th Css
    Det3 6931st CSS
    Det 3 6912 RSM

  2. Peter Padavana says:

    Yesterday (9-4), I attended a family get=to-gether and the subject came up as to what was our favorite beer. Proudly, I said Leinenkugel especially the sampler 6-pack. Without batting an eyelash, one of family members stated, “Well you know that Leienkugel is owned by Miller Brewery. I felt like I was hit by a telephone pole and screamed “no way”. Rather than continue into a rather heated argument, we just dropped the subject and made peace. Now I’m wondering – Is he right? PLEASE make my day. THANKS

    Peter Padavana

  3. When we were stationed in Germany, we had dozens of small plastic flat little tiles that were called bullybachs. We didn’t know these were actually caps or cap inserts were from Bullybach Beer until we were adults. We had a hundred games played by throwing these pieces against the wall. There were several colors and symbols. Sadly we did not return to the US with any bullybachs. We have looked in flea markets and antique stores for 50 years without success. We would love to hear from anyone who has any.